LOS ANGELES – According to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, D.C., based national transportation organization, deficient and congested roads that lack essential safety features are costing California drivers more the $53.6 billion annually.
The annual expenses include $18.3 billion in extra vehicle operating costs; $7.3 billion from traffic accidents in which roadway design was a likely contributing factor; and $28 billion, or approximately 70-80 hours in wasted time per driver caught in traffic congestion.
California cannot continue to defer critical road repairs and maintenance without jeopardizing long-term economic growth and the quality of life for nearly 40 million residents.
“It is well understood by the citizens of California who pay witness to a transportation system that regrettably is ill-equipped to manage current demand and future needs, that the current funding mechanisms are failing” said Art Hadnett, HNTB West Division president. “It is time to embrace a bold approach for funding our transportation future and we can no longer kick the can down the road.”
Last week, Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) and Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) unveiled a $7.4 billion transportation plan to address the deficits in California’s current transportation budget. The Frazier-Beall funding package includes a 17-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase; 30-cents-per-gallon diesel fuel increase; and $165 fee for zero-emission vehicles, along with greater oversight responsibilities for the California Transportation Commission.
“To ensure California remains a vibrant, healthy state, we must work together to address the most pressing challenges that prevent us from having adequate transportation alternatives for everyone,” added Hadnett. “Although the FAST Act provides modest funding increases for local and state governments for surface transportation programs, we need to consider alternative plans that have the potential to relieve congestion, maintain highways and improve goods movement for the benefit of all Californians.”
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that $1 spent on road improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in reduced vehicle maintenance, delays, fuel consumption and improved safety. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, every $1 spent to keep a road in good condition avoids $6 – $14 needed later to rebuild the same road once it has deteriorated significantly. Investing now in transportation infrastructure has dual benefits: reducing costs for vehicle operation now and decreasing the scale of future road repair costs in the future.
HNTB is a leading infrastructure solutions firm in the U.S. In California, the firm has roots to the West since beginning work on Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco Bridge in 1914, the firm’s first year of operation, and has since been involved in some of the region’s most high-profile, complex infrastructure programs.
HNTB’s many signature infrastructure projects in the West Division, which serves 30 clients in nine states, include: Interstate 405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements project, Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, California High-Speed Rail, SuperLoop rapid bus system in San Diego, the Tom Bradley International Terminal Expansion for Los Angeles World Airports, and the “Green Build” expansion at San Diego International Airport.
HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors. HNTB’s work in California dates back to its founding in 1914. Today, HNTB continues to grow in size and service offerings to clients in California from eight office locations, currently employing more than 350 full-time professionals. With more than a century of service, HNTB understands the life cycle of infrastructure and addresses clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. Professionals nationwide deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, program management and construction management. For more information, visit www.hntb.com.